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Police issue sober driving reminder

This Independence Day, law enforcement in Carbon County will participate in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign.

During the holiday weekend, law enforcement will work to put an end to drunken driving, and motorists will see increased enforcement on the roads with zero tolerance for those who drive impaired.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunken driving accounted for 29% (10,511) of motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2018.

With Fourth of July festivities wrapping up in the evening or late at night, more cars will be on the roads at night. In 2018 alone, 193 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July Fourth holiday period (6 p.m. July 3 to 5:59 a.m. July 5). Forty percent (78) of those fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. This compares to 2017 when 38% of the July 4 holiday period fatalities occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.

“It’s a shame we have to keep repeating ourselves, but the message remains the same: Drunken driving is deadly and illegal, and it’s illegal in every state in this country,” said officer Joel Gulla of the Lehighton Police Department and Carbon County Coordinator for the North Central Regional DUI Enforcement Program. “We want our community to stay safe, so make no mistake: If you are caught drinking and driving, you will be pulled over and arrested. Driving under the influence of any substance will land you a DUI.”

“Sadly, many people think driving impaired is no big deal,” Gulla said. “The consequences are serious: If we catch you driving under the influence of alcohol, we will arrest you, and you’ll receive a DUI. That DUI will follow you throughout your life. Under no circumstances is it ever acceptable to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after you’ve been drinking.”

This Fourth of July, Gulla and NHTSA urge drivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for the day. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving.

Carbon County police recommend these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

•. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.

• If available, use your community’s sober ride program or call Uber or Lyft.

• If you see a drunken driver on the road, contact 911.

• Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

For more information on impaired driving, visit https://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/drunk-driving/drive-sober-or-get-pulled-over/4th-july.